Preston referee at centre of Anthony Joshua controversy

Preston referee Phil Edwards steps in to stop the fight between Anthony Joshua and Carlos Takam.
Preston referee Phil Edwards steps in to stop the fight between Anthony Joshua and Carlos Takam.

Preston’s Phil Edwards was at the centre of controversy as Anthony Joshua retained his world heavyweight titles in Cardiff.

The city official stepped in after one minute and 34 seconds of round 10 of the clash with Carlos Takam for the IBF and WBA belts.

Joshua was dominant and on course for a certain victory but Takam’s anger and boos from some of the world record indoor fight crowd of an estimated 76,000 have sparked a debate about whether Edwards halted the action too quickly.

The man in the middle had twice asked the ringside doctor to check on cuts around the eyes of the durable Frenchman who had only been stopped once previously with the end coming after the most sustained spell of heavy punishment.

“I have no interest with what’s going on with the officials, that’s not my job,” said Joshua post-fight.

“Unfortunately, the ref stopped it. I think people wanted to see Takam on the floor and I was getting there.”

Controversy aside, victory has set up a mouth-watering 2018 for Joshua.

Either WBO champion Joseph Parker and WBC champion Deontay Wilder appear the most likely next opponents but talk of a British superfight with Tyson Fury won’t go away.

Morecambe’s former number one in the division is still waiting for a final ruling from UK Anti-Doping on a suspended drugs ban after the hearing was adjourned in July.

“Tyson Fury is a guy who we’d love to see come into the sport,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.

“Whether that’ll happen or not is another issue.

“The problem for him is to overcome the governing body and UK Anti-Doping.

“I think he will come back. I think at some point he will wake up one morning and think, ‘I’ve got to get myself together here’ and go challenge in these big fights.

“If he does, with one or two fights, then I’d love to see the Anthony Joshua fight and I’d like to see it in 2018.”